Childhood Abuse and Adulthood Effects

As I spoke about earlier October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

*********Please be aware this subject material may be a trigger to some************

Recently the title of an article in the Everyday Health newsletter I receive daily caught my eye “Childhood Abuse Raises Risk of Adult Osteoarthritis”. This drew me to it because I have been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis as well as Rheumatoid Arthritis/Disease, and growing up I experienced many different forms of abuse, physical, emotional, verbal and I witnessed the brutal abuse that was my parents marriage. So I decided to delve into this further.

Turns out that there have been a few studies surrounding Childhood abuse and the impacts that can affect an individual as an adult. I think one of the most considered effects is to the mind, an adult who survives an abusive childhood is likely to experience low self esteem, indecisiveness, an inability to control their temper and may often lash out. Additionally this adult survivor may experience a larger propensity for intimate relationship battles. One may also develop severe anxiety, depression and for some posttraumatic stress disorder.

Personally I’m a textbook example of an adult survivor, I have minimal self esteem, I have always been self deprecating, my marriages were very turbulent with the 2nd being the worst, I’ve been diagnosed with depression, and when my children and I were living in a transitional housing program after we lost our home to foreclosure, I through working with a therapist for the first time ever (I was at the time 45), was able to realize just how the occurances of abuse I experienced and witnessed as a child, were still affecting my everyday life on a mental level.

Now in my recent exploration of this topic I have also seen what could be yet another link to the reason for the issues I face to this day as far as my health is concerned. In addition to mental/emotional health, are my physical issues also a result of my childhood experience? A handful of non-clinical research suggests that there may be a link.

During the past few decades, researchers have demonstrated how trauma early in life can strongly impact and potentially trigger the development of chronic illness. In addition to mental illness, victims of child abuse are more susceptible to developing allergies and asthma, autoimmune disorders, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. It has also been suggested that people like me may be at risk of dying younger secondary to the chronic effects of inflammation. Several specific characteristics occur more frequently in victims of childhood abuse and might influence the development of chronic illness. These include poor sleep quality, elevated perceived stress, high body weight and small social networks. These factors have all been demonstrated to increase inflammation in victims of childhood abuse compared with non victims.

Of course I am not telling you that these are the reasons you and I may have the illness struggles we have, I’m simply asking is it related?

What do you think? I look forward to your answers in the comments.

‘Til next time I hope you are having the greatest day possible and that your tomorrow is even better.

~Heidi

P.S. If you or someone you know are experiencing any form of domestic violence please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) and 1-800-787-3244 (TTY)

 

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